ABC's Explanation For Axing The Checkout Is Straight Out Of A Monty Python Sketch

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The Checkout is not dead, it’s just resting.

News that the popular ABC TV consumer issues series, from the team behind The Chaser, is being put on ice just as the seventh series was about to go into production was broken by executive producer Julian Morrow this afternoon. But there appears to be a difference of opinion worthy of a Current Affairs investigation about the show’s future. The ABC says it’s not canned, just in “hiatus”.

Morrow claims the ABC’s head of non-scripted production “explained the decision not to fund another series of The Checkout by citing budget cuts and the relatively high cost of making the show”.

The program was nominated for Most Outstanding Entertainment Program, at the 2015 Logie Awards, and in some instances was ahead of the curve on consumer issues.

The Checkout first raised Nurofen misleading consumers with “targeted pain” products in 2013. Two years later the ACCC launched legal action against the company which resulted in a $6 million fine.

And last year it tackled Swiss ticket reseller Viagogo, which price-gouged customers and offered tickets that didn’t exist to events. Viagogo subsequently faced regulatory state-based crackdowns across Australia and the ACCC launched legal action against it, alleging misleading or deceptive conduct.

The ABC says it decided not to commission the series for 2018-19 “at this time”, adding that it needs to “strike a balance between new and returning programs for audiences”.

“Putting The Checkout on hiatus does not preclude the program from returning in the future,” the national broadcaster said in a statement.

Morrow says the programs cost has not increased for two years and the now-canned production was slated for the current financial year, “before the Federal Government’s freeze on ABC funding in July 2019”.

“We’re disappointed the ABC’s funding priorities do not include The Checkout,” his statement says.

And as fans of the show went berserk on Twitter, the ABC’s attempted defence of the decision looked a lot like Monty Python’s famed dead parrot sketch, in which the pet shop owner argues with the man who bought the bird that it’s not dead, only resting.

The show offered its own feisty response.

Many of The Checkout’s fans were not buying the ABC’s version:

But Morrow could see an upside to the show’s canning, comparing it to Grant Denyer, who won the Gold Logie on Sunday after his show, Family Feud, was axed.

However’s it’s clear the series has fans in high places:

This story originally appeared on Business Insider.


    Another one of the government "efficiency" cuts in funding.. can't have us consumers actually being educated about how to avoid dodgy companies.

      The Machiavellian in me thinks that that was the point, and the decision to cut The Checkout was a calculated decision to highlight the damage the excoriation of the ABC budget has done; popular, nuanced content that is in the public interest is affected. Cut something people will be (rightly) up-in-arms about, and let slip the dogs of war in an election year.

      Let's just be clear where the blame lies here; the Turnbull Government's continued cuts and the RWNJs on the cross-bench constantly demanding them, bleating about bias when the ABC calls them on their nonsense.

    Yep systematic destruction of the ABC. The Liberals and the IPA scum have a lot to answer for. Cue the cool on the fence hipsters excusing this action and letting them boil us slowly. They will not rest until there is nothing left. The Good Game fiasco was straight up obvious what they were doing. Its in the IPA charter to privatise the ABC. Guess who founded that ...hmmm Rupert Murdochs father. When will the media do its job. I dont expect it here on this gaming site or in general.....sigh.

    Last edited 07/07/18 1:45 am

    Yet a while ago, the ABC said there was no more fat and the new cuts would go straight to the muscle.

    So where does this put The Checkout then?

    Was it just fat to the ABC?

    Was it unneeded muscle?

    Or is the ABC throwing a tantrum as not being allowed to act like a commercial network on the public dime?

    Can't have your cake and eat it too, ABC. Either get back into the centre (outside of Mad as Hell) or stop wasting public funds.

      Seems simple enough to me. They don't have enough funds, so have to cut some shows. The Checkout is a bit more expensive to make than other shows (already explained in many of the news stories) - so the most potential for savings without having to cut multiple shows.
      Not sure where you get your "throwing a tantrum" from? So what other choice do they have other than cutting shows? And what does "get back into the centre" mean - are you another one of these people who are claiming that the ABC is left-biased despite many reviews proving they aren't?

        And what does "get back into the centre" mean - are you another one of these people who are claiming that the ABC is left-biased despite many reviews proving they aren't?

        The evidence (ABC's own outcomes and schedule) do not match the reviews.

        You are welcome to continue saying the sky is plaid all you wish. The fact is not going to change it is not.

          You have accused ABC of being biased to the left. Yet have not provided any evidence for it. Whenever i hear someone proclaiming that the ABC is biased to one side. Its because they themselves are biased to one side and anything not completely agreeable with their side of politics is biased.

          I mean look at someone like Andrew Bolt. He cries day and night about ABC being biased. A lot of hard right conservatives hate it because it dares to report things they dont like. The ABC is a national broadcaster. Not a propaganda machine for the conservative right/ The government. The ABC has not shifted to the left. People whinging about it have shifted to the right.

          Anytime the ABC dares to question/ Report on something the LNP/ Right does not want it reporting on. They chuck the biggest hissy fits. Yet when they do the same with the left/ Labor. They are silent.

          Why bother bringing up fluff words like evidence and facts when it's clear that your language is built around inculcation?

          No, actually, I think of Sky as a sort of livid, jaundiced, yellow colour.

    This is a devastating move for the communication of consumer rights in Australia. The Checkout handled subjects that ought to be broadly known, but weren't, and delved into quite a bit of nuance, especially through the presentations of academics and representatives of peak consumer rights groups. Its absence will certainly be felt.

    Whether or not there's a causal link between the choice not to renew The Checkout for a seventh season and the ongoing funding cuts/freezes imposed by the current federal government, the perception of one will be nearly impossible to erase.

    From a messaging side, the loss of a program that poses no competition to a commercial network flies in the face of the ideological bent presented by the federal government and is in opposition to their political formulations. That's going to be incredibly hard to sell.

    But with an impending efficiency review headed up by a former Foxtel boss, maybe we should get used to the idea of a future where our only options are commercial networks that hold no interest in representing the people of our nation, continually underservice their audiences and hold no little to no regard for the needs of regional and rural Australians.

      Pretty soon it won't even be commercial (free to air) TV it's gonna all be streaming networks.

    The only people I blame is this terrible Liberal Government and all the hysterical people who think the ABC is biased simply because they are constantly having to hold the government to account (kinda the point of journalism), so yes of course it is hitting the right hard because they are in government, and they did the same when Labor was in power.

    Tough choices like this have to be made, when people in power say stupid things like (this media network) has to learn to live within it means, it much the same way as grandma gives a child 50c and says 'buy yourself something nice'. Thanks nan, though was there, shame reality doesnt share the opinion.

      If you're far right. Anything towards the centre is Left wing to you. Hence why we have the daily sooks from Andrew Bolt and Co.

      I laugh at Bolty boy because anytime the ABC does the slightest report on anything related to global warming. He flies into a rage claiming the ABC needs to be shut down for its left wing bias for reporting on scientific fact. The conservative right and the IPA wont rest untill the ABC is shut down so they dont have any opposing voices in the media.

      They cant have the masses being aware.

      "Live within your means" really is a pernicious propagation of classist ideals. It reads very much as the focus-grouped evolution of "know your place".

      Its usage in this context is also oddly contradictory: the ABC's level and direction of funding is not reflective our their worth and value to the Australian people. Using the phrase in this way would be like telling hospitality workers to live within their means while actively pursuing mechanisms to reduce their wages.

      It's just another presentation of punitive austerity.

        Just want to say that conceptually "live within your means" isn't a bad motto. Too many people live on credit. And I'm not just talking about poor people who *need* to. I'm talking about people making poor financial decisions because they "want it now". Pity it's taken on the meaning your post mentions.

          I partly agree, but only because the concept of avoiding personal debt by not paying for what you can't afford deserves a much better motto. Even better, we could use the vernacular of microeconomics to describe the concept.

    But the ABC will continue to run the left-wing and SJW tool that is Q&A...

    At times, every society needs to clean out the treasonous...time to go, ABC management.

      Q&A is all about looking at issues logically and deductively. Sorry to say those things (these days are only seem to be seen on the left), when was the last time Sky or Fox used those ideas? It is about looking at issues from all sides. Each panel TRIES to be balanced. But given the show at its core is about talking hysterical emotion out of issues it will always seem to be biased.

      It is funny that you use the word tool right next to SJW, that is pretty much how I see everyone who uses that moronic term.

        If my understamding is correct a social justice warrior is someone that looks out for their fellow person even when it does not benefit themselves but benefits society or people unable to defend themselves.
        Does that mean that people who are anti-SJW are just selfish arseholes?

          I don't think that's the current definition. Or maybe, that's the technical definition, but the more common use has changed. It's become twisted and probably refers more to people who overreact and go nuts about an issue.

          They're the sort of activist who wouldn't even discuss issues they'd just scream at someone regardless of what points are being raised. And often their motives are selfish rather than being genuinely altruistic. Maybe the best definition would be what you get when you cross an activist and a crazy person.

        "Q&A is all about looking at issues logically and deductively. Sorry to say those things (these days are only seem to be seen on the left)"
        I mean im all for the ABC and also Q&A but seriously?

      At times, every society needs to clean out the treasonous That's some awful hyperbole to be casually throwing around, especially in light of the heightening language of violence against media globally and the actual, fatal violence against members of the media.

      Dial it back and please don't be so careless with the words you employ.

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